Sunday, June 17, 2012

Flamingos for Father's Day?

Yes, I realize it's weird to talk about flamingos on a crab blog. And I also realize it's weird to bring up pink flamingos specifically for Father's Day. But you know what? I'm weird, and so is my dad! (See here for video proof.)

You see, I grew up with 3 older sisters - that's 5 girls total (including my mom) in a house with 1 full bath! So my dad decided to call dibs on the basement bathroom for his own peace and quiet. To decorate this oh-so-manly half bath, he painted it pink and adorned it with a pink flamingo lawn ornament and pink flamingo plunger! (There may have been other flamingo-themed things in there, but those two stick out in my memory.)

pink flamingos on parade
(here they come, hippity hoppity)

Why flamingos? I don't know. BUT I do know why flamingos are pink: they eat BRINE SHRIMP (Artemia sp.)! Crustacean connection!!

salty fellows: Artemia salina

The thing in these little brine shrimp that makes flamingos so pink is astaxanthin, a carotenoid (pigment) that also turns crabs red and salmon flesh, well, salmon. Ben Daly figured that out when he was raising all those little baby red king crabs (Paralithodes camtschaticus) in Seward, AK: hatchery-reared red king crabs weren't as red as wild-caught kings, but diets supplemented with astaxanthin changed their carapace hues, and increased their survival! And increased survival is always a good goal for your kids hatchlings, right dads?



  1. I just wanted to say, thanks that was interesting. I didn't know that was why they were pink.

  2. You're welcome! I'm always amazed by the little things that make an animal so unique - like the little shrimp that make these flamingos brilliantly pink!